Town Hall a 'white elephant' - Cassels

Last updated 13:37 11/06/2013
Ian Cassels
WORK TO DO: Wellington should be looking to the future, says Property Council president Ian Cassels.

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Wellington City Council should reconsider its decision to spend $43 million strengthening the Town Hall says Property Council president Ian Cassels.


Related story: Ian Cassels' future vision of Wellington


The old Town Hall was a white elephant and it should be demolished to make way for a convention centre or hotel or some other investment for the future.

''With talk of a dying city taking the headlines, we need to choose whether to put this investment into the past or forward into our future.''

This would be the Town Hall's third upgrade since it opened in 1904.

The clock tower was removed after the 1931 Napier earthquake and then, when the Town Hall was considered an earthquake risk in the 1970s, the Michael Fowler Centre was built to supersede it.

However, it was saved after a public campaign.

It was time to think again, Mr Cassels said.

"The time and cost escalation together with the site value of this property makes this a $70 to $80 million cost decision funded by ratepayers.

''Wellington is operating in the 21st century. When will we start making decisions for our future?"

"Before we recommit to saving the past, we must explore other opportunities which will help create a stimulating city centre.

''Wellington has much work to do to truly re-establish itself as a thriving capital city.''

Mr Cassels said he spoke to a couple of councillors this morning about the Town Hall project and they were ''umming and ahing about it.''

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